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Good Neighbors: Owner of Lillian's in the Lansing Mall gives back to the community

Posted at 3:25 PM, Oct 28, 2022

LANSING, Mich. — This week's Good Neighbor, Shirley Carter Powell, started a store in the Lansing Mall named Lillian’s. Powell has been giving back to the community for nearly 30 years, and there have been plenty of challenges along the way.

Powell says through it all one thing has been consistent and that’s her drive to make a difference.

“If I can help one person, I know that I haven’t lived my life in vain!” she said.

Powell is passionate about giving back. She says since she was a kid, she’s been organizing ways to help others. She says it all started with her mom.

“My mother was a woman that always gave," Powell said. "All the kids in the neighborhood would come and hang out at our home. And I used to always wonder why you must give so much, why. And she said, 'always remember, there's someone worse off than you.'”

Powell says she never forgot those lessons her mom instilled in her. When she was battling breast cancer in the 1990s, she started a nonprofit called Against All Odds, which helps other breast cancer survivors.

At the beginning of the pandemic, she started a drive-through backpack giveaway at Francis Park and gave out 300 backpacks to homeschooled kids. Powell's friend, Susan Henderson, says she is a God-sent.

“Shirley is a good neighbor because she gives 100%,” Henderson said.

Henderson helps Powell with her latest project, Lillian’s, a store in the Lansing Mall where everything is free.

“Lillian was my mother's name. We've helped over 400 families with clothing, shoes, coats, gloves, boots, household essentials and everything," she said. "We gave away air fryers, all for free. Everything is free! At Lillian's, we gave away microwaves, vacuum cleaners, even rug shampooers, towels, sheets, comforters, blankets, body wash, toothbrushes, toothpaste and anything you can think you personally need. Lillian's has it for you!”

Lansing resident Charlesetta Mason is battling a health issue and says she is extremely grateful for Lillian’s.

“I got myself some clothes, laundry detergent, some body wash, toothbrush, toothpaste to a toothbrush and lotion,” Mason said.

Shirley Ellis volunteers at Lillian’s.

“One of the ladies that came in is going in for a job interview, and she needed a suit. And we looked at a suit. We saw that she needed to top to go with it. I opened it up, and there was a top right along with it. And it's perfect for her. She loved it. We put it into the atmosphere. The job is your sweetheart. You're going to look great in this suit. And you are going to get the job. So, she loves it,” Ellis said.

Powell says the smiles she gets from the people she helps is enough thank you for her.

“The love that I get from the people saying, thank you, that thank you is so powerful and appreciated by me!” she says.

Shirley Carter Powell thank you for all you do to give back to the community. You are this week’s Good Neighbor.

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Bob Hoffman

Bob Hoffman

9:44 PM, Nov 26, 2018

Good Neighbors Host

Bob Hoffman

Good Neighbors
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